Sample text for Road to whatever : middle-class culture and the crisis of adolescence / Elliott Currie.


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From The Road to Whatever:

Over and over, the kids I spoke to told me how they had hidden their troubles from adult authorities for years. The only people they talked to "for real," if anyone, were their friends, who were usually kids in the same boat-the ones on the outside, the ones nobody else liked. And so they stewed, their sense of failure and grievance festering. Quite often they tried on new identities, predictably those that combined serious "badness" with great power. Better to be identified as a villain, a monster, or a vampire than just a dumb screw-up; better to be Satan, or Hitler, than a messed-over little nothing. Better, at the extreme, to go out in a blaze of glory than to face more of that excruciating sense of rejection and insignificance. When the explosion came, it was usually a surprise to the surrounding adults, but was almost always understandable from the kids' angle of vision. Driving their parents' car into a wall, shooting someone, defacing a church-these represented both an assertion of identity and the drawing of a line, a refusal to "take it" any more.



Library of Congress subject headings for this publication: Youth United States, Middle class United States, Youth and violence, Narcotics and youth, Despair